SMS Marketing Part 3: Launch, Dos and Don'ts

When you’ve got a growing, segmented database, it’s time to launch your first campaign! In the third article in this series, we’ll go over the details of launching one and some SMS best practices. First, you’ll have to choose a platform. You don’t run these campaigns by simply plugging a bunch of numbers into your company cell phone; an external platform allows you to send bulk messages at low rates, from a number that isn’t traceable to your personal phone. There are dozens of choices, so take time to research the platform that fits your company’s needs best.

Once you’ve created an account within your chosen platform, you can use the campaign creator tools to input the ad copy and link to your offer. It’s also important to provide an opt-out so recipients can reply STOP or something similar if they’d like to avoid receiving further messages. You’ll need to set this up for each segment of your customer database that you’d like to reach, which may be easier or more complicated depending on your platform, but is definitely worth doing if you’re reaching individuals who have very different relationship with your business (for example, if you’ve got a group of customers whose purchase history suggests they usually purchase less expensive items in your online shop, it may not make sense to pay to send them an offer on a high-end product). Once everything is set up, you’re ready to hit send!

SMS is also frequently used for automated push notifications as well - to announce things like a product successfully shipping, a bill coming due, a reminder to complete a signup, and more. SMS automation is a fantastic way to increase ROI on things you’re already doing well, like drawing people to a digital shopping cart or clicking an offering on your website.

A word of caution: there are right and wrong ways to do SMS marketing. Consider:

  1. Outside of automated messages related to a specific purchase or download, special messages must not be used too frequently. Nobody likes to be spammed, and while a great offer every couple of weeks or months might excite people, a text once a week will drive your customers crazy. They’ll start blocking your messages, and possibly even deleting them without reading - and that’s to say nothing of the impact it could have on your reputation in the reader’s mind. Space out your messages for maximum impact and minimum risk of annoyance!
  2. Your texts need to be short. Even from friends, most of us prefer to receive bite-sized messages. Keep your offer to 2 or 3 brief sentences and include a clear call to action. SMS may be affordable, but don’t waste your money on messages that just get deleted!
  3. Make sure your writing is extremely clear. Your customers will likely read your message very soon after they receive it, and they’ll do so quickly. Hit your major points with clarity and purpose, so the reader knows exactly what they should do next to capitalize on it!
  4. It’s critical to think about what will happen after the message is read - if the link takes customers to your website to make a purchase with a discount code, for example is the link set to the correct page? Is your server able to handle a potential flood of visitors at a single moment? Make sure your website is maximized for speed and performance. SMS marketing thrives on the impulse chain, so every gap that lengthens that chain reduces the chance of the recipient converting. There should be as few clicks, as few seconds of loading time, and as few delays as possible between the time your audience gets your message, and then takes the desired action on your website.
  5. SMS marketing makes the most sense in situations where time is of the essence. Are there only a few days or even hours left before your organization’s fund drive is over? Perfect time for a text campaign. Want to offer 75% off your latest pair of sunglasses if you order in the next 30 minutes? A text will spark and support that urgency. However, if you’re just trying to let your customers know that a new product is coming out next week, or you want to share some industry news, there are better channels that will match the message better, especially in the B2C context. If you’re B2B, you can push this rule somewhat. It’s not that you can’t think outside the box with this tactic, but it’s always wise to take advantage of the strengths of the particular media you’re working with.  
  6. Remember - texts just feel more intimate than email or social media or almost anything else. Don’t abuse that contact method!

Hopefully this series has helped you get a sense of whether SMS marketing is right for your business, and how you can get started. In the final part, we’ll go over some specific SMS marketing ideas that companies can use to reach their goals.

Love the idea of running SMS campaigns but feeling a little nauseated at the thought of handling all those details? We’ve got you covered here at Trajex.

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Tyler Smith
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